Robert Crumb is an American cartoonist and illustrator, better known by his signature, which reads R. Crumb. His work is a combination of nostalgic American folk imagery and endlessly cynical contemporary satire, and he is the inventor of many iconic images and characters including Fritz The Cat (star of the first X-Rated animated film!), Mr. Natural, and the infamous Keep on Truckin’ comics. (The latter became ubiquitous to the point of multiple copyright lawsuits over unlicensed merchandising. This was pretty much the precursor to all of those bootlegs of Calvin (of & Hobbes) pissing on things.) Crumb uses the "Truckin'" strip as an example of the discomfort he felt with his sudden fame in the late 60’s, dismissing the work as “Big feet equals collective optimism. You're a walkin' boy! You're movin' on down the line! It's proletarian. It's populist. I was thrown off track! I didn't want to turn into a greeting card artist for the counter-culture! That's when I started to let out all of my perverse sex fantasies.” And boy, did he! His work was the cornerstone of the first successful underground comic publication (Zap Comix) in the 60s, he later went on to found the magazine Weirdo, which featured more auto/biographical works in line with the new wave of alternative comics by Clowes, Los Bros Hernandez, et al in the 80’s. This LP collects the score from the 1995 documentary film directed by Twiggy Zwigoff, which focuses on the personal life of Robert and his somewhat troubling home life. Crumb was a reluctant subject - The documentary took nearly a decade to make, one of many factors leading Zwigoff to quip “I spent three years with a loaded gun on the pillow next to my bed, trying to get up the nerve to kill myself.” Melodrama aside, the score to this film exposes a more tender side of Mr. Crumb. The disc opens with his musings on music - “When I listen to old music it’s one of the few times I actually have kind of a love of humanity. You hear the best part of the soul of the common people you know, their way of expressing their connection to eternity or whatever you want to call it. Modern music doesn’t have that and it’s a calamitous loss that people can’t express themselves that way any more you know.” The soundtrack consists primarily of Jazz and ragtime pieces performed by David Boeddinghaus with Craig Ventresco, faithfully evoking the sounds of a bygone era. This is the first release on vinyl for this soundtrack, limited edition picture disc features illustration by Crumb himself and two postcards.
- picture disc pressing
- first time on vinyl
- limited edition
- music label: Cinema Paradiso 2019
reviewed by WHOLE EARTH REVIEW 2/2020